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Plant J. 2014 Sep;79(5):717-28. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12581. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

The BEL1-type homeobox gene SH5 induces seed shattering by enhancing abscission-zone development and inhibiting lignin biosynthesis.

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Crop Biotech Institute, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, 446-701, Korea; Department of Life Science, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang, 790-784, Korea.


Seed shattering is an important trait that influences grain yield. A major controlling quantitative trait locus in rice is qSH1. Although the degree of shattering is correlated with the level of expression of qSH1, some qSH1-defective cultivars display moderate shattering while others show a non-shattering phenotype. Os05 g38120 (SH5) on chromosome 5 is highly homologous to qSH1. Although we detected SH5 transcripts in various organs, this gene was highly expressed at the abscission zone (AZ) in the pedicels. When expression of this gene was suppressed in easy-shattering 'Kasalath', development of the AZ was reduced and thereby so was seed loss. By contrast, the extent of shattering, as well as AZ development, was greatly enhanced in moderate-shattering 'Dongjin' rice when SH5 was overexpressed. Likewise, overexpression of SH5 in the non-shattering 'Ilpum' led to an increase in seed shattering because lignin levels were decreased in the basal region of spikelets in the absence of development of an AZ. We also determined that two shattering-related genes, SHAT1 and Sh4, which are necessary for proper formation of an AZ, were induced by SH5. Based on these observations, we propose that SH5 modulates seed shattering by enhancing AZ development and inhibiting lignin biosynthesis.


Oryza sativa; SH5; abscission zone; lignin deposition; seed shattering

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